Many people are apprehensive about going to the dentist. This may be due for many reasons – they find the instruments intimidating, they’ve had a painful procedure done in the past, or they have inflamed gums due to a less than stellar dental hygiene and don’t want to face their doctor yet. But there are instances when you can’t really keep putting off those visits. Such is the case when you have a chipped tooth. Why should you take care of it as soon as possible? What are some of the available treatments?
What causes teeth to break?
While there are obvious causes for a chipped tooth — such as a fall, an accident, or biting too hard on something solid, like ice — teeth can also become weakened by health conditions, such as acid reflux or an eating disorder. In addition, excessive consumption of alcohol, tooth decay, and grinding your teeth while you’re sleeping also play a role in weakening teeth.
Symptoms of a Chipped Tooth
If a visible piece of your tooth fell out, you’ll notice it immediately. However, if the chip was minor, you may not even notice it at first. Some signs of a chipped tooth include:
- Feeling pain when applying pressure to the tooth, such as when biting or chewing
- Your tongue catching on the tooth’s edge
- Feeling a jagged edge when you run your tongue over the tooth
If the pain is unbearable, you should seek emergency treatment. On the other hand, if the chip is minor and it’s not interfering with eating or sleeping, schedule an appointment with your dentist to avoid further damage.
Is it always necessary to see a Dentist?
Yes. Failing to seek treatment for a chipped tooth can result in tooth decay and tooth loss. The tooth could also change colors, become loose, or get jammed into the gum line – which can be pretty painful. If the chipped tooth is towards the back of your mouth, you may need a root canal or filling. Having a chipped tooth can also affect your overall health, since it increases the likelihood of bacteria entering your bloodstream through your mouth.
Treatment Options For a Chipped Tooth
There are several things you can do at home to minimize discomfort and reduce the chances of more damage:
1. Purchase Dental Cement
You can get it at most drugstores. Follow the instructions on the packaging for a temporary repair until you can see a dentist. If you wear traditional metal braces, orthodontic wax can also do the trick.
2. Take Ibuprofen
Remember that if your pain is severe, you should seek emergency treatment. However, if your pain is minor, you can treat it by taking an over-the-counter painkiller.
3. Eat Only Soft Foods
This includes scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, soft cheeses, oatmeal, hummus, avocado, soups, and smoothies. It will make chewing easier and prevent additional chipping on the damaged tooth.
4. Avoid Extreme Temperatures
Foods and drinks that are too hot or too cold cause additional pain and discomfort. That’s because your tooth sensitivity is heightened until the tooth heals.
Bacteria around the injured tooth increases the risk of infection. Flossing allows you to remove sugars and food particles that may not be as visible and that cannot be removed with a toothbrush.
6. Sleep Propped Up On Pillows
This will help ease the pressure on the injured area. Less pressure means a more restful night’s sleep.
7. Schedule a dentist appointment.
There is no way around this one. All of the items listed above can only provide temporary relief. A dentist will take into account your medical history and oral health to provide a solution that provides full healing – such as bonding, dental on-lays, or tooth smoothing.
If You Need Help with Your Oral Health, Let Us Help You
At North River Dental, we have over 30 years of experience in cosmetic dentistry. If you have a chipped tooth, let us help you.